Rebecca Kamen

The Crossing the Intersection of Art and Sciences Artist Residency Program engages students in contemplating the intersection between art and science. Through a presentation that includes illustrations of scientific theories in tandem with artworks created to interpret those theories, students are challenged to find ways to visually interpret science to promote further understanding of its principles. As a result, students see how they can translate scientific data or systems into visual form based on their observations and research.

Following an introduction to the art and science connection, under the direction of their art teacher(s), students collaborate to identify common threads that run through scientific fields; they select a field and associated theory or system to investigate, and follow the creative process to re-imagine what scientists see in visual form. They begin by mapping the data or system to develop their concept and continue by experimenting with materials they are considering for art production until they find a way to visually explain their findings. Students work with their teacher to develop and execute their ideas, they consult with the artist at intervals during their creative journey and they reflect in writing on their experience as it unfolds.

Teacher and students have options to consider for creating visual interpretations of scientific theories or systems. The choices include but are not limited to the scientific fields of study in the middle school curriculum which are Environmental Science and Matter and Energy; they may choose to work individually or collaboratively; they may choose from a wide variety of media; they may work in 2-D, 3-D or 4-D and they may all work on the same or on diverse theories. In addition, if the opportunity exists, the art teacher and students may invite science students to develop a collaboration as they work together to translate their understandings into a visual form. Throughout the residency, emphasis is placed on ways in which artists interpret concepts formulated by mankind.
Crossing the Intersection of Art and Science
Arts Discipline
Visual Arts
Cross Curricular Connections
Art, Sciences
Artist Statement
I fell in love with discovery as a young girl. With awe and wonder, I spent much of my childhood investigating the world of elements with a simple chemistry set, and used that set to create elaborate science-fair projects. Insatiable curiosity and a deep love of learning created bridges between seemingly unrelated disciplines. As a result, I have devoted my life as an artist to an intuitive examination of properties that overlap from discipline to discipline. I remember the thrill when my first cardboard telescope magically connected me with the cosmos, and can still summon my feelings and fascination as I continue to explore its matter and meaning. These discoveries have inspired me to use my art practice to make the invisible visible as a way of sharing scientific discoveries and telling nature’s story through art.

This residency will provide an exciting opportunity to share my enthusiasm with students for building new bridges between art and science and to inspire and empower them to become stewards of the earth.
Artist Residency Goals

Key Concepts:
Perception, analysis, visualization, conception


Create an artwork that explains a scientific theory or system in a visual form.

Artist Residency Culminating Activity
The culminating activity will be to host a school based exhibition of student work. In addition to school staff and peers, the exhibition may be open to parents, family members and members of the community and may include a reception. At some point, during the exhibition, students have the opportunity to discuss their work and describe the experience of creating it.
Expected Learning Outcomes
Enduring Understandings:
• Art can make the invisible visible by offering visual interpretation of concepts formulated by mankind.
• Art can offer a viewer ways to understand theories and concepts in different ways.
• Artists have the power to perceive and interpret the world in uniquely visual forms.

Essential Questions:
• What does it mean to interpret something?
• How can something invisible be made visible?
• In what ways can an artist interpret a theory or concept?
Residency Schedule
The Residency Program is planned for 5 sessions of 90 minutes in length with the resident artist and additional sessions led by the fine arts teacher as needed to develop and complete student artwork.

The number of classroom sessions and the time per session can be modified and still accomplish the residency objectives. The Resident Artist will work with the Fine Arts Teacher to align the lessons based on the specific school’s needs and schedule.
Material and Supply Needs
Standard Materials: (provided by the school)
• Material selection will depend on production choices.
• Materials may include drawing tools, assorted paper, cardboard, Bristol board, wire, string, yarn, scissors, glue, non-traditional materials such as Styrofoam, wood pieces, spools, a variety of fasteners, etc.

Specialized Materials: (provided by the artist)
Equipment and Technology Needs
Standard Equipment and Technology: (provided by the school)
• Digital Projection system
• Technological resources, i.e laptops, IPADS, smart phones, computers for research

Specialized Equipment and Technology: (provided by the artist)
• MAC Laptop / VGA Adapter
Space Requirements
Space requirements: (within and outside of standard classroom settings)
• Art Studio / Work Room
• Exhibition space within the school
Role of the Fine Arts Teacher in the Residency

This residency is highly customizable and requires greater involvement by the classroom teacher(s), see unit plan for details. 

Within the residency, there are options for choosing:
• the scientific theories or systems students will investigate (The choices include but are not limited to the scientific fields of study in the middle school curriculum of Environmental Sciences and Matter and Energy);
• the media students will work in and whether they work in 2-D, 3-D or 4-D;
• whether students all work on the same or diverse theories; and 
• whether students work individually or collaboratively on their artwork.

As is standard with all the residencies, the Fine Arts Teacher is asked to collaborate with the Resident Artist to support and enhance the program on an ongoing basis throughout the residency, including but not limited to the following:
• Suggestions for student groupings,
• Classroom discussions and examples,
• Opening and closing activities or teaching techniques that the students are familiar with and have been successful for the teacher,
• Providing feedback/input/encouragement into the creative processes planned as part of the classroom activities, and
• Adaptations for students with special needs.

Download Unit Plan
1554 Great Falls Street, McLean, 22101, VA
703 883-9535, cell 703 772-1806